ON THE 60th ANNIVERSARY OF SILLIMAN JOURNAL

Volume 55 Nos. 1 and 2 will be the final set of Silliman Journal issues in its twice yearly publication before it reverts back to being a quarterly. They are also the issues with which we celebrate the SJ’s 60th anniversary.

The Silliman Journal has been playing catch-up for as far back as I can remember, even before I joined the Editorial Board in 1998. But former editor-in-chief Ceres Pioquinto made great strides in raising the Journal’s standards under the leadership of then Silliman University President Agustin Pulido, instituting the peer review process and an overseas editorial board in addition to formulating a comprehensive journal policy. As soon as the SJ achieved timeliness with the 2013 issues, the editorial staff felt the need to revisit its mandate. 

I remember that on the occasion of the Journal’s 50th anniversary, ten years ago, we produced not only a special Humanities issue and a special Science issue, but also an Index as well as Abstracts of everything that appeared in SJ over the first fifty years. Since this year marks the 60th anniversary ofSilliman Journal’s founding, we pay tribute to our very first editorial board composed of Dioscoro S. Rabor for Biological Sciences, J. Elliott Fisher for Social Sciences, Gerardo A. Imperial for Physical Sciences and Edilberto K. Tiempo for the Humanities. The late Pedro D. Dimaya was Editor-in Chief for all four issues in 1954 and kept that position until 1957. Managing editor was the National Artist for Literature, Edith L. Tiempo and the business manager was former Dean of the College of Education, Lino Q. Arquiza. 

A year’s subscription then (four issues) cost six pesos. The very first papers included “The Use of English in Philippine Creative Writing” by Edith L. Tiempo, “T.S. Eliot and the Wrestle with Words” by Ricaredo Demetillo, “Major Influences on the Poetry of R. Zulueta Da Costa” by David V. Quemada, and “What Senior High School Students Think about Communism” by sociologist Agaton P. Pal. Today the SJ is listed under the Science Citation Index (Thomas Reuters) and its publication was made possible by a grant from the James Chapman Research Foundation. James W. Chapman was a biological scientist who taught at Silliman University with his wife Ethel beginning in 1916. Chapman was at one time executive vice president of the university (appointed in 1941) and retired, along with his wife, in 1950. Friends and former students established the Chapman Research Foundation in 1953. 

In the book The Silliman Story is stated: “Although James Chapman earned international renown for his work on ants at Silliman, research had taken a low priority until the late 1940s, as the Fenn Survey noted. The survey suggested that few faculty members understood what research entailed and urged them to undertake projects allied with their disciplines.” (Lauby, Udarbe, & Lauby, 2006, p. 66)

Anniversaries are always a time to look back and see how far we have come. They are also an opportune time to ask “Quo vadis?” And in light of many educational reforms going on in the Philippines, we also need to ask about the SJ’s mission and vision at minimum in the next ten years. From the very beginning the SJ has published on topics and concerns relevant not only to the Philippines but the larger Asian context. Our overseas editorial board, however, is represented by experts beyond Asia and the Pacific and we have anticipated ASEAN emphases by many decades. As we acknowledge the expanding reach of publishing beyond the world of a local printing press, it is expected that the look and breadth of the SJ will change in many qualitative ways. 

In writing about good-to-great corporate transformations, Jim Collins says there are no miracle moments. “Instead, a down-to-earth, pragmatic, committed-to-excellence process—a framework—kept each company, its leaders, and its people on track for the long haul,” he said.

We will keep this in mind as we look forward to the next 60 years in Silliman Journal.


Margaret Helen Udarbe-Alvarez, EDITOR